YOU don’t realise how much Inverness band The Oxides has packed into their fairly short existence, till they share their recent diary of gigs with you.
Every one seems to come with its own adventure.
But maybe that should be expected of a band feisty enough to risk a Friday 13th debut gig last year.
Since then, singer and guitarist Jake Bolt, bassist Archie Stewart and drummer Duff aka Graham Duff have been joined by guitarist Paul Elliott – PEL.
They’re back at the Ironworks tonight (Thursday) for their third showcase appearance there in the past 18 months.
Gigs see the band come alive.
And with the added experience of festivals (Belladrum, B-Fest, Liverpool’s IPO), their face-meltingly hot goNorth set this year, and gigs from Thurso to Liverpool, Perth to Aberdeen, Fort William to Drumnadrochit, there will be surprises.
Paul Elliott – who joined the band at the start of this year – and frontman Jake Bolt got out their smartphones to share some memories of 2013 high spots.
Later there were hints at future elements bubbling away in the Oxides’ test tube of grand plans. An album is on the cards when they can get some recording time.
But first they shared some highlights of the year so far.
“PEL is the memory man,” Jake suggested.
And PEL recalled: “The last time we met, we were just working up to our first run of gigs after the PAWS support in Mad Hatters.”
Jake checked. “Next was The Poachers’ Inn in Drumnadrochit. They dismantled the pool table and we turned everything up to 20. It was a fancy dress night and people were losing their wigs – someone was dressed as Wonder Woman.
“Next was the MV Festival in Aviemore. That was a funny one, we played in what looked like someone’s front room – the picture frames were all wobbling sideways. But it was great.”
PEL said: “Our energy levels were really high, Jake was like the Duracell bunny.
“Then we headed up to Thurso to the reopening of the Y Not as a music venue – we’ve been up there three times now, but that night – just because it was in a new building – the PA was cutting out. But the party was monumental!
“We took a break after that so I could learn more of the new songs, then hit Cafe Drummond in Aberdeen where we played a tight set but it wasn’t exactly like Wembley.”
The Market Bar is not exactly Wembley either, but was the perfect place for the band to celebrate drummer Duff’s birthday.
PEL explained: “Toby Michaels Rolling Damned EP launch and Brew At The Bog were on the same night, so we just wanted to play for the people who go to the Market and then Archie’s bass exploded!”
It was fixed for the Crofter’s Bar in Fort William.
Jake said: “We ended up having to play all night when the support band couldn’t do the gig and Skelf – who runs the bar and is a musician himself – played. When a local DJ walked into the bar, he got his equipment and came back to play too!”
There was a longer journey for the next set of gigs – at Liverpool’s Cavern Club in May.
PEL said: “This was amazing and the highlight of my year so far. I think it’s maybe the best gig of my life!” said Jake. “And – imagine the audacity – we played a Beatles song, Please Please Me.”
PEL said: “It went down really well and the sound was perfect there.”
There was a food fight going on outside.
Jake said to PEL: “You’re saying ‘food fight’, but it wasn’t spaghetti letters... Or cucumber sandwiches,” PEL laughed. “It was tins of beans – you could have lost an eye! It was hardcore.”
For tales of aftershow drinks with ex-Oasis guitarist Bonehead and new band Parlour Flames, midge terrors and an epic night with pals The Whiskys, head online.
But in some ways, nothing’s changed through all the gigs, journeys and learning curves.
Jake explained: “When we started, I remember saying to you that we wanted it to be fun – professional – but best mates hanging around, having a jam.
“Every night we have together is about going out on the town with your mates. The working bit is still hilarious.
“And the whole thing is joyous! Every moment of it!”
He pauses, grins and adds with perfect comic timing: “Apart from the moments that aren’t.”
Due to unforeseen circumstances, The Oxides have been forced to cancel their planned Ironworks Summer Showcase appearance tonight (Thursday) . Instead Toby Michaels Rolling Damned will join Naked Red and Silver Coast on tonight's bill.
Get in touch with The Oxides on Twitter (@theoxidesmusic). Find out more on Facebook (THE OXIDES), hear more on Soundcloud (the-oxides) and Reverbnation.com (theoxidesmusic)